Casco Viejo (Spanish for “Old Quarter”) is the historic district of Panama City. Completed and settled in 1673, it was built following the near-total destruction of the original Panama City, Panama Viejo, in 1671. Panama Viejo was founded in 1519 and it lasted one hundred and fifty-two years. In January 1671, the Governor Juan Perez de Guzman had it set on fire, before the impending attack and looting by the pirate Henry Morgan. Casco Viejo was then constructed on a peninsula completely isolated by the sea with a defensive system of walls. Today the area preserves the first institutions and buildings of the modern Panama City.
Casco Viejo is not far from Panama City and is well worth a visit. A taxi is recommended, as there is an area between the two that was bombed during the 1989 US Invasion that has yet to recover and is rather seedy. Casco Viejo itself is recovering from a time of disrepair, so there is an interesting blend of renovated future and a derelict past to be found in its streets.
Photos taken March 21, 2010.